The family of a woman found murdered is speaking about the man police believe is responsible for at least two homicides.
Police arrested their suspect, Derek Richardson. They stopped him Saturday morning in his car at U.S. 169 and Northwest 68th Street in the Northland after a tipster led them to him.
Richardson is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.
Nicholas Reed prayed for justice for his sister Nicoleone, but now with answers finally coming, his first reaction is shock.
"Just for the certain lifestyle my sister led, I didn't believe it was possible for her killer to be found. The people she hung out with could be anywhere," said Nicholas Reed, who lives just a few blocks from where Richardson was arrested.
Nicholas Reed knew his sister was working the streets as a prostitute and knew her killer could be any stranger she had met.
However, he didn't expect a storyline with a 27-year-old suspect, who is also a husband, a father and, according to court records, "infatuated with serial killers."
"Why? I guess the biggest question really is why," Nicholas Reed said.
Police say Richardson targeted 23-year-old Nicoleone Reed last year, and 40-year-old Tamara Sparks back in 2011, because they were prostitutes, and that he confessed to strangling them, dumping their bodies, and covering them with bleach to try to hide the evidence.
A tip last week, and some hard work, led police to their suspect.
"They worked all night Thursday night into Friday, they went home for three hours, they came back," Sgt. Doug Niemeier said.
Nicholas Reed said it is a big relief to see that people actually care. For Nicoleone Reed's family, the loss is huge, so much more than the expendable prostitute her alleged killer saw.
"I just wish that he would understand that, he didn't just hurt me, he didn't just hurt my mom, my sister left behind a daughter, her niece is going to be born next month," Nicholas Reed said.
Nicoleone Reed struggled with mental illness, drug abuse and poor choices, but her brother says she was smart, could pick up foreign languages in a heart beat, and knew how to love her family.
"Liked to cook, liked to read books, loved music," he said. "I'm going to miss her a lot."
Nicholas Reed said he feels for the suspect's family too, and that he's angry, but not with them.
He is grateful for the tipsters in this case, who recognized a Croc shoe that police found at one of the crime scenes. Police said the Croc had DNA on it that led to the arrest.
Police say Richardson did a fair amount of traveling so they're checking with departments across to country to see if there are any other victims.
Richardson is being held on a $2 million bond.
Richardson attended Kearney High School, but did not graduate. Friends say they are stunned by word that someone they knew is a suspected killer.
"Complete shock," said Brandy Whitesel. "I never would have expected it."
Whitesel exchanged text messages with Richardson about the time Reed was killed. He said he was having a rough few days in November, but did not elaborate. She said he didn't seem that much different during the periods in question in which he is alleged to have killed the two women.
Those who know Richardson said they are concerned for his wife and two young children. Whitesel described Richardson as a happy man who always had a smile on his face, but she said she cannot defend him.
"I feel horrible for the victims' families," Whitesel said. "I just wish they knew the person that I knew. It just goes to show you that maybe you don't know really know somebody like you thought you did."
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